Airlines sit at the end of a long and complex value chain of suppliers and service providers.
When the European air travel market was liberalised, other elements of the value chain were not addressed. Many examples of monopoly or oligopolistic service provision remain – for example air navigation services and ground handling at airports.
But more than that, European network airlines compete in global markets. European regulators are not very good at understanding how measures which impact most heavily on European airlines affect their competitiveness worldwide – while measures imposed on trading-partner airlines may attract retaliation. The Emissions Trading fiasco is a prime example.